2016 Fulbright Prize Laureate: Richard G. Lugar
Senator Lugar served as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1985-1987 and 2003-2007, occupying the position Senator Fulbright held from 1959-1974. During his years in Congress, Senator Lugar exemplified the bipartisan spirit that is at the heart of the Fulbright Program. A Rhodes Scholar like Fulbright himself, Senator Lugar learned at an early age the value of international understanding and academic exchanges. He has been a strong supporter of the Fulbright Program and its objectives.
A two-term mayor of Indianapolis, Senator Lugar went on to become the longest-serving member of Congress in Indiana’s history (1977-2013). During his Senate career, he was a leader in critical security issues such as nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which culminated in the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program through a bipartisan bill co-sponsored with Georgia Senator Sam Nunn. The 1991 Nunn-Lugar Act provided for the dismantling of over 7,600 nuclear weapons in the former Soviet states. As President Barack Obama said when he awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003, “[Senator Lugar’s] legacy will endure in a safer and more secure world, and a safer and more secure America. And we pray that this nation produces more leaders with [his] sense of decency and civility and integrity.”
Senator Lugar has played a significant role in shaping U.S. foreign policy, especially during his years chairing the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, he co-sponsored the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange Study (YES) program, a State Department program for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations that awards scholarships for up to one year of study in the United States. Since 2009, the program has expanded to bilateral exchange, sending U.S. high school students abroad to several YES countries. Over 9,500 students have received Kennedy-Lugar YES scholarships since 2003. In 2005, Senator Lugar received the American Foreign Service Association Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award. In 2008, together with Senator Joe Biden, his partner on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, he received the Crescent of Pakistan in recognition of their multifaceted support for Pakistan.
The Fulbright Association was proud to honor Senator Lugar with the 2016 J. William Fulbright Prize for International Understanding. The award was presented on November 10, 2016, at the Fulbright Association Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.